Growing up from the “rotten ground” of Manchester, U.K., budding powerviolence trio Leeched have been developing their style of ear-splitting, metallic hardcore for a little over two years. Within that short period of time, Leeched have released one full-length record and an EP, cultivating a bleak aesthetic that pairs masterfully with their abrasive sound.
With that in mind, Leeched will be releasing their sophomore full-length To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse on January 31 via Prosthetic Records. Having pushed the limits of their own intensity, To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse brims with discordant chaos, unrelenting breakdowns, and industrial interference, dragging the listener through discomfort and unease with every track.
Leeched approach the introduction of this record in “The Hound’s Jaw” with what reminded me of the beginning vocal line of Code Orange’s “Forever.” They utilize that same sort of pitch-shifted vocal technique to set a dark undertone for the upcoming madness. Thunderous percussion blazes in beneath electronic whining and feedback that cuts on and off. A smashing groove gives relief to what sounds like a jarring mash-up of dentist drills and sirens.
There is a presence of dissonant breakdowns throughout this record that beat you to a bloody pulp. “The Grey Tide” and “I, Flatline” both hit with hardcore force and provide plenty of the band’s sludge-drenched heaviness early on in the album.
Leeched pack loads of sound experimentation within each song, using the guitar more to create various noises as opposed to traditional riffing. This sees them crossing over plenty of their influences without compromising their own ideas. “Earth and Ash” provides powerviolence in the same vein as Nails, but that influence only comes in the more violent segments.
An impact made by Code Orange comes through the industrial experimentation and the breakdowns, but you would never hear them get nearly as fast as Leeched. Some of the screeching, down-tuned guitar sounds reminiscent of earlier Korn in certain parts of “Famine at the Gates,” a track that rivals some of the heaviest-hitting tunes in modern hardcore.
The heaviness on this record is created in more ways than just breakdowns, with “Now it Ends” and “Let Me Die” utilizing the hard-hitting, percussive elements of industrial music. The former song sounds like a fire alarm ringing in a factory of pressing machines, also offering a slower bit of contrast to the album.
Overall, To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse feels like a purging of undesired thoughts translated through feedback and smothering static. This album may challenge you to sit through unsettling thoughts and perhaps reveal memories of scars endured.
It isn’t meant to appeal to any sub-genre, but rather an unapologetic force of heaviness that drills its way into your brain. As the band name itself suggests, To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse literally latches on to you and sucks out any sort of hope you had of achieving happiness.